Art on land and sea came together on Friday evening at An Lanntair Arts Centre as Wave Migration, by painter, screen printer and surfer Laura Maynard, brought in an excited crowd of people for its official launch.
Laura thanked all the surfers who figure in the exhibition – 15 in total – for being so willing to work with her, and also thanked her family for their support through the development life of the project.
The exhibition – including an iconic campervan and a display of surfboards, fills the main gallery and overflows – like a bursting wave – into the reception area of An Lanntair.
For the surfers that feature in the exhibition, the welcoming people, unspoiled surf breaks and the lack of commercial surf culture makes the Hebrides a home worth braving the cold for.
Laura said before the launch: “For the surfers originally from Lewis this sport, lifestyle and passion was a key factor in their decision to stay - when so many of their peers decided to leave.
“For those that moved to the island it was the draw of the waves, wilderness and culture that led them to find something different and special on Lewis.
It isn’t just about the waves, the surfers have brought with them around 20 kids and counting, bringing much needed youth to an ageing population.
“I wanted to paint a body of work that captures a moment in time that may have disappeared in other more popular and accessible surf destinations.
“I’ve not travelled extensively, but I’ve always been fascinated why the surfers who have come to make their homes in Lewis chose here over the warmer or more well-known destinations like Cornwall, the Canaries or Australia. Here in the Hebrides we still have wilderness and solitude which are the reasons many people get into surfing in the first place.”
Laura grew up in Lewis and has an honours degree in Fine Art from Duncan of Jordanstone college in Dundee.
She focuses on painting, mixed media and screen-printing and splits her time between being an art teacher and working in her self-built studio.
Wave Migration is her first solo exhibition and these 15 large-scale portraits have been painted over an intense 20-month period.
Alongside Laura’s work, film-maker, photographer and surfer Jim Hope has created a short film that shows the Islands’ wild coastal landscape, waves and the cold-water surf paradise. It’s being screened in the VW campervan.
Mark Lumsden is a surfer and board shaper on Lewis, designing and making handcrafted surf boards in his work shop in Ness. His shaping skills are showcased in boards specifically designed for the waves and conditions of Lewis surf.
The exhibition is on until May 11th.